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I turned from my bar stool and saw my old friend and drinking buddy, Miss Lipstick.
“I’m writing a column now for Our Time Press, the oldest black-owned weekly in Brooklyn.”
“No kidding. What are you going to write about?”
“Well, I had planned on being real hard-hitting and provocative but a few friends have warned me to ease into it before I start shaking things up.”
Well that makes no sense to me, Miss Lipstick said. “The way I figure it, if words are bullets, the last thing a word slinger needs is to be gun-shy.”
“So what do you think I should write about?”
“You can write about my story for one.”
“And what’s that?”
“I’m a proud recipient of a U.S. Department of Labor fellowship.”
“You mean unemployment.”
“That’s what you call it. I call it a fellowship. I put in my time working for a company the last fifteen years. Paid my taxes and worked hard. Then the company, how do they call it? Reorganized.  So now I’m on fellowship. Just wish it came with medical.”
“Have you been looking for a job?”
“Sure. I’ve gotten my resume out all over. Times are tough though, and I can’t find anything right now that pays as good as my fellowship, let alone my old salary.”
“Okay. So consider your story told.”
“But your column shouldn’t only tell my story. You should also be telling the story of the mother whose child has been killed because of black-on-black crime, and how the cops need more watching over and how the mainstream media doesn’t cover this neighborhood because it isn’t gentrified enough yet.”
“What about the state of black political leadership in Brooklyn?”
“You mean the lack of black political leadership in Brooklyn. Some of our politicians been in office so long moss is beginning to grow under their feet and between their toes. In this political clubhouse climate I don’t see Brooklyn producing an Obama like Chicago has done or even a Cory Booker like Newark has done anytime soon.”
I took a gulp of beer.
“Good point,” I said. “But I must confess I’m a little word-shy for this my first column.”
“Well, man up. There’s only two things you’ve got to remember, and the first is to call it the way you see it in your columns to make things better without pulling no punches.”
“And what’s the second?”
Miss Lipstick gave me a flirty smile. “Offering to buy this thirsty lady a drink.”
“Fine,” I said, motioning the barkeep over.
“Another beer for me, and what are you having, Miss Lipstick?”
“A Grand Marnier.”
“A Grand Marnier?” I said. “That’s some top-shelf liquor.”
“Well, I’m a top-shelf lady.”
That you are, Miss Lipstick. That you are.”